PRI’s Lettini joins Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return initiative in investor engagement role

She will help investors look at the material financial risks of poor animal welfare standards.

The Principles for Responsible Investment’s (PRI) Associate Director of Global Networks and Outreach, Maria Lettini, is moving on to a new role at the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) initiative, a group that aims to educate investors about the material financial risks of factory farming.

A statement on the initiative’s website confirms that Lettini will serve as Director at FAIRR starting on September 1. Her main focus in her new role will be on growing FAIRR’s presence globally and engaging more investors on the risks and opportunities associated with animal factory farming.

The statement added that its members were “delighted” to welcome Lettini to her new role. It continued: “She brings over 20 years’ experience in business and finance including eight years working in Institutional Global Equity Sales at J.P.Morgan and Deutsche Bank.”

Lettini joins after five years at the PRI. There she was primarily responsible for growing and strengthening the UN-supported initiative’s presence in the North and South American investor communities and increasing its base of signatories from 800 in 2010 to over 1,500 today.

Speaking to RI, Lettini said she has personally been following the issue of factory farming and the financial risks it poses for some years, and that the new role marks “an amazing opportunity to help effect change on an issue that poses large potential global health and environmental concerns”.She added: “Working with the PRI has been an incredible experience—to start with the organization when we were small and growing, working with such smart and dedicated staff, and having the opportunity to raise awareness of ESG and sustainability issues globally has been truly rewarding. I am very proud of what we have accomplished as an organization in those five years and I look forward to continuing to work with Fiona [Reynolds, PRI Managing Director] and PRI team.”

A PRI spokesperson said that the organization appreciated Lettini’s many contributions since joining in 2010. They added: “It’s obviously a great opportunity for Maria and we certainly wish her well in all her future endeavours.” The PRI is recruiting a replacement.

FAIRR was established by Jeremy Coller, Founder and Executive Chairman of UK private equity secondaries firm Coller Capital, and comprises a network of investors who agree to consider animal welfare as an investment or risk factor and will engage with companies on how they are responding to the issue. First soft-launched at the RI Europe 2015 conference, the initiative has since published reports on assessing investment risks relating to factory farming and guidance on how to consider farm animal welfare in investment decision making.

Coller has also supported the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare movement along with investors including Aviva Investors, Robeco and Schroders. Its signatories support the idea that farm animal welfare is potentially material to long-term investment value, particularly in the food sector.